When is it Time to Find a Geriatric Care Manager for Your Older Adult Parent?

July 29, 2021

When is it Time to Find a Geriatric Care Manager for Your Older Adult Parent?

How do you know when it's time to look for Geriatric Care Management Assistance for older adults? If any of the following scenarios sound like your situation, consider calling 1-866-AGE-WELL to learn more about Geriatric Care Management.

1. My parents are no longer able to manage their finances and I am unsure of what to do for them.  Can you help me?

Financial management for many elders is one of the first forms of independence lost especially if there is any type of cognitive impairment such as dementia. Elders are so vulnerable to financial exploitation in our society, and if your parents are struggling to manage their finances independently, they are at even more risk of being exploited. Following an initial assessment, my first recommendation would be to connect you and your parents with an elder law attorney who specializes in creating documents and agreements, which allow you or another family member to access your parents’ accounts, pay their bills, and ultimately manage their finances. I would arrange and attend any meetings with an elder law attorney and offer mediation services if needed. With so much sensitivity surrounding financial matters, I would also provide emotional support to your parents and to you.

2. My mom has an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and refuses to stop driving. What do I do?

This is a very common and challenging problem area for family caregivers. Driving represents independence in so many ways and for many elders is how they are able to stay connected to their communities, friends and families. When any type of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease is present, it adds layers of difficulty to this process. Following your mother’s evaluation and meeting with you, I would want to refer you to the appropriate services to assist you with this issue. I can be as involved as you would like me to be with the process and can do anything from setting up a driving evaluation with an organization like AAA’s Professional Assessments to mediating a conversation with a caregiver and the elder who has an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis. We are here to support you, your mom, and your family as you move through this difficult experience and would be honored to assist you in any way possible.

3. My mom died last year and ever since her death, my dad has been suffering from depression and has now become socially isolated. I am looking for a meaningful activity or program to get him involved with to provide him with more social engagement and stimulation. What would you recommend I look into for him?

Social isolation and depression are becoming more and more prevalent in the elderly population, and here in Atlanta we are lucky to have many innovative, engaging, and warm community oriented programs that can meet the social, physical, and intellectual needs of elders. Following your dad’s initial assessment and meeting with you and any other family members involved, I would discuss the possibility of visiting an Adult Day Program, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), and would suggest volunteer opportunities that could incorporate some of your dad’s skills and abilities. I would want to empower your dad to make a decision about what activity or program feels like a good fit for him and assist in a variety of ways, including assisting with program enrollment, coordinating volunteer opportunities, helping to set up transportation for him, and providing support and additional assistance that’s helpful to you, your dad, or your family.

4. My parents are unable to keep up with their house and are both struggling with serious health problems. I need to learn about the types of communities and homes that exist that can foster independence, but also provide needed supports. Can you help me with this process?

The process of transitioning elderly parents to a safer living environment is extremely overwhelming experience and can feel impossible at times. This is a great opportunity to utilize a Geriatric Care Manager to help take some of the pressure off caregivers and their loved ones and to assist with time consuming tasks that go along with moving elders, especially into a supportive setting like an assisted living community. After the initial assessment, it’s important for me to get to know your parents and determine what’s important to them about their new home and what is affordable for them I could begin a very personalized search for the appropriate new home for your parents. I would want your parents to be as involved as much as possible in this process. My knowledge and relationships in the community help me to gather information about independent, assisted, personal care homes, and nursing homes in the greater Atlanta area and help your parents and your family make an informed decision about where your parent’s new home might be. I can accompany your parents or the family on tours in different senior living communities, including arranging the tours, assisting with moving logistics, helping the community have a clear understanding of what your parent’s needs are and helping to navigate the admissions process with any community.

5. I live out of state and have an elderly mother with Parkinson’s disease. She is currently receiving home care in her home, but she needs a higher level of care, so I need to learn what her options are. How can you help me with this?

For many elders home health care can meet their needs and they are able to maintain their independence in the home if their health allows them to do so. For elders who have health issues like Parkinson’s disease managing symptoms in the home alone can become difficult and at times impossible. There are so many great options here in Atlanta in terms of communities that could assist your mom with symptom relief and also provide other services such as meals, professional caregivers, and almost any service or assistance she would need. It is vital that your mom is the boss of this process and that she feels empowered to make a decision about where her new home will be. I can help walk you through all of the different types of communities, services they each provide, accompany your mom on tours, be a local contact for you if your mom ends up needing assistance with other matters, and provide emotional support and stability for your mom if she is open and willing to make a transition.

Other Scenarios:

  • My mother started wandering and we were concerned for her safety. She had caregivers, but they couldn’t watch her all the time, and when she started messing around with her medications, we got really worried.
  • My father liked to cook and tinker with tools: he left the oven on repeatedly, even though we hired a caregiver, Dad was becoming a danger to himself.
  • My dad had become really isolated in his own home, especially after his eyes changed and he stopped driving. We’d had someone come to the house to help him, but all his good friends – like his fishing buddies, or the guys at The American Legion - had either moved away or died.
  • After Dad died, Mom just became dispirited and stopped doing things. We took her to the doctor, and he put her on medication for depression, but she’d given up all of her activities, and she needed a more structured environment: she needed to be around people.
  • I’m spending all my time arranging doctor appointments and trying to find things for Mom to do. I feel so alone in all this – I’m the only one taking responsibility.
  • Living out of town, it’s been incredibly difficult handling all the details related to mom’s move to the assisted living community. It isn’t just the move. We also need help setting up medications with the local pharmacy, coordinating doctor’s appointments and transportation, as well as making sure mom is getting what she needs and adjusting to the community once she is moved in.

To learn more about Geriatric Care Management, call 1-866-AGE-WELL.